Breaking down borders: How Hackett boosts international sales

Menswear clothing business Hackett London is an iconic British brand, which evokes the heritage of Saville Row tailoring. Yet when it came to selling in international markets, the company found something was getting lost in translation. 

When the business re-platformed its website a couple of years ago from Magento to Salesforce Commerce Cloud, it decided to also change its international business process, which head of eCommerce Lisa Small says wasn’t performing well at that point. 

The company was previously working with Borderfree for the international offering and decided to go with eCommerce cross-border specialists Global-e instead. 

Global-e introduced a more simplified, single-step check out process, with support for calculating and pre-paying duties and taxes at checkout and a better payment process. 

Previously a customer would have arrived at the site from their country of origin, but the conversion rates would show the exact exchange rate to the decimal point. “So customers would see this funny number and think is this real? What we’ve done now is round it up. That sounds straightforward but it looks better and helps create an element of trust,” says Small.

“It just makes it feel like we are helping them, and there are no nasty surprises, as they know upfront what they are going to pay.”

It’s also simplified the shipping and return fee process, with a more competitive shipping rate and a flat fee for returns – which works out to be about £5. 

After three months, conversion rates have increased by 77%, online international orders are up 75%, and international revenues have risen 97%.

Freedom of movement

Hackett is is subsidiary of Spanish-based Pepe Jeans Group, so all its shipments come form Barcelona. “If you shop online with regardless of country, it’s all coming out of Spain.” 

Along with the technology, Global-e also takes care of international distribution, collecting the items from Barcelona. Whereas previously everything was first routed through the UK, increasing transit time.  That takes the friction out of the process as it already has the relationships and agreements set up with various carriers, explains Small.

“It is quite seamless for the customer, so they don’t feel any different when checking out. And it still looks like us. The benefit from partnering with someone that is doing it already for a number of people, is they have their best practices already. And they will also have that benchmark data about shipping fees.” 

She adds: “The control is still with the brand, but you gain from market knowledge and best practice data and can test things, too. And you can very easily change things you are doing to suit different countries or the needs of the business.”

She says the integration was relatively straightforward as they were already in the midst of an overall re-platform, so could slot the new process in from the beginning. 

The uncertainty of Brexit remains a far bigger challenge to the business, as its warehouse is in Spain. 

“I think everyone is breathing a sigh of relief that it's not happened now, and have a few more months in the peak trading period. I think that is a blessing for everyone.”

Unfortunately there are some cross-border issues that can’t be solved with technology.

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